Imperial College London


Faculty of Natural SciencesDepartment of Life Sciences

Professor of Systems Biology



+44 (0)20 7594 9537r.endres Website




303Sir Ernst Chain BuildingSouth Kensington Campus





Dr. Robert Endres leads the biological physics group with its strength in the quantitative understanding of sensing and signalling, and the physics of life network. He also designed and introduced the Masters programme in systems and synthetic biology, and is highly involved in training undergraduate students in systems biology.

Check out my open positions (PhD and postdoc)

Research interests

Group website with lots of extra information (link)

Imperial College Network of Excellence in 'Physics of Life' (link)

Systems biology, information processing, biological physics, cell mechanics (summary pdf).


Co-organiser of virtual "Physics of Life symposium" on 3rd July 2020 (link)

New paper accepted in J Chem Phys: Thermodynamics of switching in multistable non-equilibrium systems, with PhD student Jacob Cook.

My inaugural lecture originally planned for 5th June 2020 is moved to 2nd June 2021 - if travelling and social-distancing measures allow it.

Accepted paper in PNAS on Growth-rate dependent resource investment in bacterial motile behavior with the Sourjik lab at Marburg, Germany.

Upcoming Tom Duke Prize lecture at UCL on 18 September! (link)

In September 2019, I am finally promoted to full Professor!

Accepted in Nature Cell Biology: Persistent and polarized global actin flow is essential for directionality during cell migration, together with the Brian Stramer Lab and former postdoc Linus Schumacher.

New preprint on the role of entropy production during switching in nonequilibrium multistable systems by Jacob Cook and me (pdf)

Accepted in eLife: Shared behavioral mechanisms underlie C. elegans aggregation and swarming, by S.S. Ding, L.J. Schumacher, A.E. Javer, R.G. Endres, and A.E.X. Brown (4/2019)

Maksym Romenskyy was awarded a Marie Curie fellowship to work on social behaviour of C. elegans nematodes, in particular on how genes map to behaviour (2/2019). In collaboration with Andre Brown at Hammersmith campus.

Awarded Imperial 'Physics of Life' network of excellence which I will co-lead with Chris Dunsby from physics and Chiu Fan Lee from bioengineering (1/2019).

Accepted in Cell: "Chromosome translocation inflates Bacillus subtilis forespores and impacts cellular morphology" by Lopez-Garrido, N. Ojkic, K. Khanna, F.R. Wagner, E. Villa, R.G. Endres, and K. Pogliano (UCSD) (link)

Accepted manuscript in Biophysical Journal (letter) entitled "Drift and behavior of E. coli cells", with G. Micali, R. Colin, and V. Sourjik (MPI Marburg).

In press in Rep. Prog. Phys.: "How cells engulf: a review of theoretical approaches to phagocytosis" with D.M. Richards (Exeter).

Accepted manuscript in PLoS Biology entitled "A critical-like collective state leads to long-range cell communication in Dictyostelium discoideum aggregation", with Giovanna De Palo and Darvin Yi (Stanford).

Elected APS Fellow upon recommendation by the Biological Physics Division, October 5, 2016

Accepted manuscript in eLife entitled "Cell wall remodeling drives engulfment during Bacillus subtilis sporulation", with Javier Lopez-Garrido and Kit Pogliano (UCSD).

Linus Schumacher joined group in April 2016. For his PhD work at Oxford University he won the Reinhart Heinrich Doctoral Thesis Award in Mathematical Modelling and Theoretical Biology.

Accepted manuscript in PNAS on particle-shape dependence in phagocytosis with David Richards

Co-organizer of IUPAB/EBSA/BBS/IoP, Edinburgh, July 16-20, 2017 (link)

Editorial Board Member of Nature journal Scientific Reports

Co-organizer of PhysCell2015, Abby Banz, Germany, September 3-5, 2015 (link)

Co-organizer of Physics of Emergent Behaviour II, Science Museum, London, July 9-10, 2015 (link)

Co-organizer of Physics of Emergent Behaviour, Grand Hotel in Brighton, June 24-26, 2013. (link)

Physics of Emergent Behaviour

Undergraduate textbook on Physical Principles in Sensing and Signalling, Oxford University Press, 2013. amazonOUP

Physical priciples in sensing and signalling


In the media

 Making an Impact in Biology
Princeton Molecular Biology Newsletter
Imperial College press release and interview
SGM press release


Short biography

  Before starting at Imperial College in 2007 as Senior Lecturer, Robert was a postdoc with Prof. Ned Wingreen in the Molecular Biology Department at Princeton University, where his main research accomplishments were the understanding of the remarkable signalling properties of bacterial chemotaxis and the atomistic prediction of protein-DNA binding sites. In 2002 he obtained a PhD in physics from the University of California at Davis. His work, conducted in the group of Prof. Daniel Cox, dealt with charge transfer in biomolecules, in particular in DNA. In 1999 he obtained a Masters physics from the University of Goettingen in Germany, where he worked in the group of Prof. Kurt Schoenhammer on highly correlated electronic systems. In 1996/1997 he also spent an academic year at the University of California at Santa Cruz.



Figure: Schematic of a bacterial cell illustrating the high degree of organization. As an example, chemotaxis receptors get inserted into the inner membrane and localize at t he cell poles, where receptors f orm signalling complexes leading to remarkable signall ing properties. The underlying biop hysical and cell-regulatory mechanisms for recept or clustering are still largely unknown.

Invited talks

  • EPSRC 'Physics of Life' Network meeting on 'Information flow in biological systems’, July 1-2, 2015
  • German Physical Society, Technische Universität Berlin, March 17, 2015
  • The physics of microorganisms, IOP, London, March 23, 2015
  • BCAM Workshop on Nonlinear Dynamics in Biological Systems, Bilbao, Spain, June 19-20, 2014
  • Crick Quantitative Biology Symposium, NIMR, Mill Hill, June 5, 2014
  • Heraeus conference "Physics and Biology of Directed Movement of Cells and Organisms", Physikzentrum Bad Honnef, Germany, December 8-11, 2013
  • Seminar, Biozentrum, University of Basel, Switzerland, October 7, 2013
  • Summer School "Forces and Dynamics in Cells", Uni Bayreuth, Germany, September 9-12, 2013
  • Conference "Information, Probability and Inference in Systems Biology", Edinburgh, UK, July 15-17, 2013.
  • Seminar, Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany, March 15, 2013 
  • Seminar, John Innes Centre, Norwich, UK, scheduled for February 26, 2013 
  • Seminar, Department of Physics, University of Milan, Italy, February 13, 2013
  • Seminar, Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge, November 23, 2012.
  • Seminar, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Reading, October 31, 2012.
  • GEM4 summer school "Cellular and Molecular Mechanics", Imperial College, September 14, 2012.   
  • Conference "Physics Meets Biology", University of Oxford, September 3-5, 2012.     
  • Colloqium, CeNS, Ludwig-Maximilians University, Munich, Germany, June 29, 2012.
    Seminar, Department of Physics, University of Bayreuth, Germany, June 6, 2012.
  • Colloquium, Institut für Theoretische Physik I, Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany, June 5, 2012 
  • German Physical Society, TU Berlin, Germany, March 25-30, 2012
  • Seminar, Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, Cambridge University, January 27, 2012
  • Seminar, Centre for Mathematical Medicine and Biology, University of Nottingham, December 13, 2011   
  • Seminar, Centre for Mathematical Biology, Oxford University, October 14, 2011  
  • Conference "Physics of Living Matter" (PLM6), Cambridge University, September 19-20, 2011
  • Seminar, Department of Bioengineering, UC Berkeley, CA, August 1, 2011
  • Seminar, Microbiol. & Envion. Toxicology, UC Santa Cruz, CA, July 27, 2011
  • CISBIC Open Day, Imperial College London, July 13, 2011  
  • Seminar, Microbial Science Division, University of Surrey, March 30, 2011   
  • Symposium "Systems and Synthetic Biology", Imperial College London, November 10, 2010  
  • Seminar, Department of Physics, University of Oxford, November 5, 2010  
  • Seminar, Biology and Environmental Science, University of Sussex, October 20, 2010  
  • Seminar, University of Muenster, Institut für Neuro- und Verhaltensbiologie, Germany, July 29, 2010 
  • Seminar, Department of Genetics, University of Cambridge, July 9, 2010
  • CISBIC Open Day, Imperial College London, July 6, 2010 
  • "Complexity and Nonlinear Phenomena in Biological Systems", University of Bath, May 20, 2010
  • Seminar, Department of Physics, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, Germany, May 11, 2010
  • Seminar, Department of Bioengineering, Imperial College London, May 5, 2010
  • Society of General Microbiology, Spring Meeting, Edingburgh, March 31, 2010
  • Seminar, Stanford University, Department of Bioengineering, CA, June 26, 2009
  • Seminar, University of Cambridge, Department of Genetics, May 15, 2009
  • Seminar, OCISB, University of Oxford, March 19, 2008
  • Seminar, ZMBH, University of Heidelberg, Germany, June 20, 2007
  • Seminar, University of Rochester, School of Medicine, NY, May 7, 2007
  • Seminar, Imperial College, Division of Molecular Biosciences, May 2, 2007
  • Seminar, Kavli Institute of Nano-Science, TU Delft, Netherlands, April 26, 2007
  • PICASSO computer science seminar, Princeton University, NJ, April 18, 2007
  • Colloquium, Georgetown University, Department of Physics, DC, March 22, 2007
  • Seminar, University of Frankfurt, Germany, March 13, 2007
  • APS March Meeting, Denver, CO, March 5, 2007
  • Colloquium, University of Denver, Department of Physics, CO, February 26, 2007
  • Seminar, University of Georgia, Department of Microbiology, GA, February 1, 2007
  • Seminar, Dalhousie University, Physics Department, Fairfax, Canada, December 12, 2006
  • Colloquium, Carnegie Mellon University, Physics Department, PA, October 3, 2006
  • Conference "Nanoelectronics and Dynamics of DNA", Maui, HI, August 20-22, 2006
  • SIAM Conference on the Life Sciences, Raleigh, NC, July 31-August 4, 2006
  • Winnipeg Symposium on "Charge Migration in DNA", Canada, June 6-9, 2006
  • Seminar, Lewis-Sigler Institute, Princeton University, NJ, May 24, 2006
  • Seminar, University of California San Diego, Physics Department, CA, May 9, 2006
  • Seminar, Rutgers University, BioMaps Institute, NJ, May 3, 2006
  • Seminar, Harvard Medical School, Systems Biology Department, MA, March 22, 2006
  • Seminar, MIT, Physics Department, MA, March 20, 2006
  • Colloquium, Virginia Tech, Physics Department, VA, February 21, 2006
  • Colloquium, Lehigh University, Physics Department, PA, February 16, 2006
  • Seminar, Stony Brook, Physics Department, NY, February 10, 2006
  • Seminar, Brookhaven National Laboratory, NY, February 9, 2006
  • Seminar, ZMBH, University of Heidelberg, Germany, September 14, 2005
  • Colloquium, Ohio University, OH, September 16, 2004
  • Seminar, NEC Laboratories, NJ, June 16, 2004
  • Seminar, Oak Ridge Natio nal Laboratory, TN, December 5, 2003
  • Seminar, University of Cincinnati, Physics Department, OH, April 15, 2002
  • Seminar, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, CA, April 12, 2002
  • Colloquium, UC Davis, Department of Physics, CA, March 11, 2002



Ding SS, Muhle LS, Brown A, et al., 2020, Comparison of solitary and collective foraging strategies of Caenorhabditis elegans in patchy food distributions, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Vol:375, ISSN:0962-8436

Bodor DL, Ponisch W, Endres RG, et al., 2020, Of Cell Shapes and Motion: The Physical Basis of Animal Cell Migration, Developmental Cell, Vol:52, ISSN:1534-5807, Pages:550-562

Cook J, Endres R, 2020, Thermodynamics of switching in multistable non-equilibrium systems, Journal of Chemical Physics, Vol:152, ISSN:0021-9606

Ni B, Colin R, Link H, et al., 2020, Growth-rate dependent resource investment in bacterial motile behavior quantitatively follows potential benefit of chemotaxis, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Vol:117, ISSN:0027-8424, Pages:595-601

Endres R, Micali G, 2019, Maximal information transmission is compatible with ultrasensitive biological pathways, Scientific Reports, Vol:9, ISSN:2045-2322

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